Monday, November 6, 2017

GOOD READING AND MARIA VON TRAPP by Patricia Crandall



Many of the poets and authors I read in the small press should be on top of the pile rather than a number of the best-selling authors I have attempted to read, only to put them down and reach for a well-read classic. Two books I have recently read are “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville and “The Red Badge Of Courage” by Stephen Crane. These books are heavy reading; not for those who like to move along fast. However, once you have read them, you feel as though you have been on the high seas or survived a war.
Another writer I admire, who in my opinion is now classic, is Maria Von Trapp of Sound of Music fame. The books written by Maria are special for the reason each February, my family and I pack skis and winter gear and vacation at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. This has been a tradition for twenty years. At first, we stayed at the original lodge until it was destroyed in a fire in 1980. The present Inn is very beautiful and luxurious, but it cannot compare to the homey atmosphere of the original lodge.

            My favorite recollections of Maria are of her greeting guests in the dining room each evening, wearing a traditional Austrian dress and an endearing smile. At Mass at the quaint Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, I can still see her bustling down the aisle, attended by a companion or family member. I have been privileged to meet one of God’s chosen.
 Maria was an iron-willed woman who never hesitated to say anything. She would not have survived in this country without her strong will. At her funeral in 1987, attended by approximately 200 friends and relatives, Monsignor Paul Taggart quoted a colleague as saying;
“God is going to be in for some surprises with Maria.”
The following books by Maria von Trapp, I warmly recommend;
A  FAMILY ON WHEELS tells the story of the Trapp Family’s successful American and International concert tours which carried the entire family from South American cities to the hidden leper island of Molokai in Hawaii.
The Trapp family fled Austria to escape Hitler’s scourge, and arrived in America nearly penniless to begin a new life as professional musicians. In this book, Maria shares the family’s fascinating experiences of home life at picturesque Stowe, Vermont; and their six-year global tour to almost every city of any size in South America, New Zealand, Australia, America, and Europe. On their visit to Austria – after a twelve-year absence – they received a royal ovation which was for Maria an unforgettable moment of happiness and triumph.
MARIA, MY OWN STORY: reveals poignant scenes of childhood, convent life, marriage, and escape from Hitler’s Germany. Maria traces Baroness von Trapp’s adventure-filled and spiritually-overflowing life through the growth of her children, the Lodge at Stowe, Vermont and her dedication to God.
 Maria von Trapp grew up in Austria and was left as an orphaned child at a very early age. She joined one of Austria’s strictest convents on the hopes of becoming a nun. As the ‘will of God’ she married Baron Georg von Trapp and became the second mother to his seven children.
Hitler struck Austria and Maria became the guiding force of the family.
Maria was not only a musician, mother, homemaker, lecturer, and world traveler; she is also an accomplished writer. The STORY OF THE TRAPP FAMILY SINGERS was made into the famous play and movie, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the thrilling story of Maria.
Trapp Family books can be obtained from the Trapp Family Gift Shop located in the Austrian Tea Room, Stowe, Vermont 05672.
*This review was in part taken from book jackets.

GOD IS EVERYWHERE by Patricia Crandall


 
God is in the red brick church
where a congregation
gathers each Sunday.
Respectful, serene faces
lift eyes to the Lord.
Hands pyramid in prayer.
One eye open...
the other closed,
a pious member
of St. John's
catches sight
of a small wriggling form
peering back
at the door
ushering in sunlight.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Character Titles by Mary Deal





Although many people claim only five to seven main titles of distinctions for types of characters, you will hear characters referred to by many different terms. What follows a list of how all characters may be titled.

Protagonist – The main character of your story and can be either male or female. It can also be an animal or any person or entity around whom the story revolves. The protagonist must want something or have something to prove. The protagonist doesn’t always have to be liked.

Antagonist – The person that opposes what the Protagonist wishes to overcome. An antagonist need not be a person. It can be a stubborn obstacle or situation.

Secondary Character – Any character that has a fairly prominent place in the story but is not the protagonist or antagonist, yet stands out over all the rest.

Incidental Character – Those story people who remain in the background and only show up to round out a scene or offer a bit of story detail that others did not know. These characters are usually found by the protagonist along the way to overcoming the obstacle they wish to master.

Heroine – A female who brings about the story’s climax and denouement. Usually the female protagonist.

Hero – A male character who saves the day, also, usually the story’s protagonist.

Villain – Can be male or female. The term usually applies to a human being and is almost always the antagonist, though a few stories are written with the villain as the protagonist. The villain is usually always the one standing in the way of the protagonist achieving her or his goals.

Mentor – A character who could be behind the scenes but who guides or advises the protagonist or other important characters.

Foil – A character used to contrast another character to help establish personality.

Point of View (POV) Character – The character through whom the story is told. Applies to nearly all stories except those written from multiple points of view, as in Omniscient points of view.

Major Characters – All characters who are active throughout the story.

Minor Characters – Those in the background of the action, sometimes used as filler to round out the action.

Round Characters – Those whose personalities have been fully developed in the story, even though they may not be a prominent character. Many minor characters are rounded to give credence to what they do in the story, no matter how small their action.

Flat Characters – Those with little to no action in the story, have little to no personality development, and make few appearances. All stories have these people and the stories would not be the same without them.

Dynamic Characters – Usually those characters around whom the story evolves. Even though a character may make one appearance, or speak only one line of dialogue, it impacts the story in a way that the story would not be the same without their appearance.

Love Interest Character – Is usually someone in whom the protagonist is in love, but may apply to anyone in the story opposite any character, as long as the love interest portion impacts what the protagonist needs to accomplish.
For example, the protagonist may love a person who is already part of a couple with someone else. In the end, after trying to gain the love interest’s attention, once having solved the main problem needing to be accomplished, the protagonist realizes he or she is better off without that person in their lives. These characters’ lives can play out in any varied scenario of results.

Static Characters – People who never change throughout the story. Can be any character in the story. Their unchanging nature gives grounding to the main characters and adds greater depth to any character’s character arc. Can also refer to faces in the crowd.

Stock Characters – Story people used as fillers. They usually have no name and no real purpose in the story other than momentary, if that much, like walk0ons in a film. They pass in the background, enhance the background setting, but we never see them again.

All stories do not employ all of these people. However, as you create your plots, you will see the need to understand the characters you’re creating and their purposes.


 Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*


Thursday, October 19, 2017

CONTEST – No Fee Poetry


Prize: Autographed copy of I Passed This Way by Patricia Crandall (a book of poetry), and a New York Bestseller under $25.00.

Write a poem about nature. The poem needs to be under 32 lines or it won’t be accepted. Keep it clean. Any style.

Judges:
Patricia Crandall, author of Melrose, Then and Now, a historical volume, I Passed This Way, a poetry collection, The Dog Men, a thriller, Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner, non-fiction, and Pat's Collectibles, a collection of short stories. She is writing a y/a thriller about child sex trafficking titled The Red Gondola and the Cova.

Linda Barnett-Johnson, Virtual Assistant for authors. She writes for Writers on the Move, has been published on Long Story Short and other online ezines as well as a story in The Color Gallery, an anthology of World’s Great Short Stories. She enjoys writing short stories and poetry.

The contest starts now, so get your creative writing caps on.

Please post it on Patricia Crandall’s Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/pcrandall123
The contest will end December 31, 2017. The winning poem will be announced January 31, 2018


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Frogs, Gnomes, Hikers and Bottle Miners - Book Anthology

Dear Patricia,

Did you know Fiction on the Web has been going strong for more than 21 years? To celebrate that, I'm making a beautiful print edition of the best stories I've ever published, to raise money for Guy's & St Thomas' Foundation Trust.

It has taken me months to do the shortlisting, and "Frogs, Gnomes, Hikers and Bottle Miners" made the cut. Out of the 1000+ stories I've published, it is definitely one that stuck with me.

According to the current schedule, I expect the book to be out in January. I'll keep you posted on progress, and please do let me know if you have any bright ideas for marketing.

Thanks,
Charlie

Won prompt contest at FanStory

Patricia Crandall -Won, The Wrong Move prompt contest on Fan Story for her short story, Lady With Binoculars - FanStory


Monday, October 16, 2017

Building a Story by Mary Deal


  

An example of how to begin a new story when your Muse has taken a vacation.

A friend of mine—I’ll call her Judy—had written a novel and was in the process of sending it out to literary agents seeking representation. She and I knew that first-time authors typically needed to have two or more completed and polished manuscripts in hand.
Publishers do not make large profits on an unknown writer’s first book but on subsequent publications instead. Money is spent on publicity for the first book to establish a reputation for an author and build readership. With these aspects already established, on subsequent books, larger profits are realized.
Too, publishers are more apt to believe that a writer is capable of turning out numbers of books if they did so of their own volition and not because a publisher waits with bated breath for another manuscript. Having more than one book shows true intent as a writer.
So, Judy needed to write another story, and fast. She had just completed the rigors of editing and deep polishing the first manuscript and felt burned out. I suggested she take a breather for a week or two; maybe even get away for a vacation. She is not one to shy away from responsibility, so she pleaded with me to help her find a way to conjure another plot because her muse had taken the vacation for her.
I never thought about how to start a new story. My stories just rolled out whenever I allowed myself to think. Then I remembered a few techniques I used in establishing characters in my first novel and passed those steps along to her.
The one presented here is the procedure that worked for her. She took more than a month conjuring characters and, not surprisingly, the story unfolded as she went along. By the end of three months, she had completed the first draft of her second novel.
Something happened along the way. Her muse evidently decided she liked the excitement of the new story and returned promptly from vacation. In following the steps given below, Judy came up with an idea for a sequel to her newly finished story and then decided to make it a serial.

* * * * *

Your hero or heroine should be the strongest character in your story. Let’s give your main characters the types of personalities that will fit their roles.
Imagine a person you’d like to have in one of your stories. From that mental image, build a character. She or he will probably be your protagonist. This may change, so beyond recording the character’s physical attributes, do not think further into the story.
If you have written a short story and identify a protagonist, you can use that character to help flesh out another one. However, the technique presented here works best when starting fresh with a character about whom you know nothing. Then you’re less likely to follow the plot line of the other story already written.
Have a sort of feel for a person and start simply by listing physical attributes: age, color of eyes, skin tone, hair color and any other details you feel you wish the person to have.
At this point, do not list anything like the fact that the lady changes hair color frequently, or has a nail-biting neurosis. This has little to do with establishing the basics of physical image. If something extra does come up in creating the character, then your Muse is beginning to feed you details of a story you have yet to consciously realize. How exciting is that? If this extra information may be too good to pass up, then you can add it, perhaps in a separate list for personality. Be simple in the primary description and make a separate list of added details as something you may include later.
Next, give the person just enough of a life so that you know what makes your character’s personality unique.

What does she or he do for a living?
How many other family members?
What are her or his best personality attributes, and worst ones?
What other relatives closely share this character’s life and how does your character interact with them?
What delicious secrets does your character hide?

Another example: Give your character habits like a facial tic or nail-biting. Try to conjure why she or he has it? Is it the result of some repressed emotion? Is it from some shock long ago? How does this unnerving habit affect people presently in the character’s life? What crisis from her past should she have to work through to eliminate the tic? Who else is involved in why she may have such a habit? If nothing like this comes to mind for your character, don’t worry. Something else is on the way!
I like the part about the secrets most. Most people hide things they wouldn’t want the world to know about themselves. Draw it out of your story people. Find some shocking information, juicy tidbits around which to build your plot, around which to motivate your characters.
See where this is going? By the time you’ve got the first character established, you will have introduced us to other people in his or her life.
Next, choose one of those secondary people and build another character sketch. You may already know which character will interact most with your protagonist. It doesn’t have to be a love-interest either. The next character can be a public figure the protagonist tries to emulate, or someone who has been stalking her, or a neighbor, or anyone among the characters who people your plot.
For the next character, you do not have to use any particular person included with the sketch of your main character. You can start fresh again and build a whole new person. Something in that creation will tell you how to bring this person together with your main character and the others.
Follow this procedure for each character whether or not they immediately interact with the main character. Have faith. Your Muse understand you need characters that will ultimately interact, so create them as they come to mind. Trust yourself!
Finally, your characters will tell you a story as you create them. Begin to write about how these people interact. By the time you get this far, you will know where your story is going. You will know your plot!
Trust the process. You will have conjured something important to say about these people, their lives and their impact on one another and the outcome.
Write without editing. Let your mind wander from the rational to the absurd. As you write, you’ll find yourself choosing which path you wish the story to follow.
Ultimately, you may not use most of the information you pack into your character sketches. However, because you have taken the time to build your characters, you will know how they react in all the circumstances presented in your plot. A morally upstanding person reacts one way to a certain occurrence; a frivolous person reacts a completely different way to the same situation. You will know these people because in building character sketches you unknowingly create their morals, ethics, and motivations, which will surely spice up your plot.


 Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*

GOOD READING AND MARIA VON TRAPP by Patricia Crandall

Many of the poets and authors I read in the small press should be on top of the pile rather than a number of the best-selling authors I...